In Italy, 63 doctors have died on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to an Italian doctors’ association.
The editorial board of the Italian Association of Doctors (FNOMCeO) updated on Monday its running tally of doctors who died amid response efforts to the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the sad list of doctors who have fallen during the COVID-19 epidemic is growing,” FNOMCeO’s board wrote in a note accompanying the tally, to which two names were added on March 30.
“The dead do not make a noise. Yet, the names of our dead friends, our colleagues, put here in black and white, make a deafening noise,” said Filippo Anelli, FNOMCeO president, in earlier remarks to The Financial Times.
The association did not specify how directly the death of the 63 doctors could be attributed to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, noting that “many doctors die suddenly, even if the cause of death is not directly attributable to the virus, because there’s no buffer.”
The association said it would update the tally regularly, hoping it will serve as “a warning, a lesson for all.”
Anelli earlier made urgent calls for more personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medical staff, telling The Financial Times that Italian doctors were being sent into a “war” against the virus “unarmed.”
“It is reasonable to assume that these events would have been largely avoidable if health workers had been correctly informed and equipped with sufficient adequate PPE: masks, gloves, disposable gowns, protective visors—which instead continue to be in short supply or to be supplied in an unacceptable way in the midst of an epidemic to which even Italy had declared itself ready only up to two months ago,” Anelli said in a March 27 statement, as translated by The Independent.
According to a March 29 count (pdf) by the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS), a total of 8,358 healthcare workers in Italy have contracted the virus.
On Monday, the country reported a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases, which rose by just 4,050, the lowest number since March 17, according to the Civil Protection Agency, as cited by state-run ANSA.
Italy registered a total of 101,739 cases overall, the report said, with 812 people dying in the past 24 hours.
The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Italy now stands at 11,591.
The decline in new infections may be partly explained by a reduction in the number of tests, which were the fewest for six days.
Italians have been under nationwide lockdown for three weeks and officials said the restrictions, which were due to end on Friday, look certain for at least two more weeks.
“We have to agree on this with other regions, but I think we are talking about (maintaining the block) until at least mid-April,” Attilio Fontana, head of the worst-affected Lombardy region, told reporters.
The governor of the southern region of Puglia said on Saturday the restrictions should stay until May.
Reuters contributed to this report.